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Taiji's autobiography

spikecb · 1940

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Offline spikecb

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on: July 16, 2020, 11:17:39 PM
I found fanmade english translation of parts of Taiji's autobiography. Figured it'd be good to have a link here for everyone to read.



Offline nb

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Reply #1 on: July 17, 2020, 07:52:22 AM
Thank you + welcome to the forum.

I pinned the post.

Maybe I will post the book here too, like Toshis book. (Because if the new owner changes the robots.txt one the latest midnightrevolution.org site, the archive.org content can also be gone... :( )


positively unsure。


Offline TaijiSawada

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Reply #2 on: July 20, 2020, 07:45:16 PM
Yoshiki recently posted a picture on IG to remember Taiji and the caption "even though we fought a lot, I miss you" made me think about the chapter from this autobiography where he almost predicts the downfall of X speaking about the harshness of being in a band together with him. Some things really come full circle in life...



Offline spikecb

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Reply #3 on: July 21, 2020, 03:42:26 AM

Maybe I will post the book here too, like Toshis book. (Because if the new owner changes the robots.txt one the latest midnightrevolution.org site, the archive.org content can also be gone... :( )

That's a good idea, it's a shame there's no complete translation of Taiji's autobiography like Toshi's has.



Offline Ekapri

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Reply #4 on: July 21, 2020, 12:17:52 PM
Yoshiki recently posted a picture on IG to remember Taiji and the caption "even though we fought a lot, I miss you" made me think about the chapter from this autobiography where he almost predicts the downfall of X speaking about the harshness of being in a band together with him. Some things really come full circle in life...
Maybe deep down Yoshiki finally realized something, he's got something but he also lost something important to him... friendship



Offline Purple Spider

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Reply #5 on: July 25, 2020, 01:14:33 PM
I read the whole translation a few months ago and since nobody here seems to have it, i thought it would be nice to create an account to share that translation with you.

This is the link :
https://web.archive.org/web/20190204002244/http://hydeism.oxxy.com/X-Truth/Taiji-Book

If you cannot see the translation in english but just a part of the one in russian, try to scroll down. If you can't, try from a phone to "show the simplified version". Then scroll down to see the english translation (before the english one there's the russian one).
If some of you still have trouble finding the translation, tell me and i'll post it here.



Offline TaijiSawada

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Reply #6 on: July 26, 2020, 08:01:23 AM
thanks, I tried to access to that very page a while ago but it didn't seem to work, now it does.



Offline Sannna

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Reply #7 on: August 27, 2020, 08:50:39 PM
The link above didn't work for me.  :-\ Is it possible to have translations here? That would be highly appreciated since I've been wanting to read Taiji's book so badly for many years. Unfortunately my Japanese isn't sufficient for that.



Offline nb

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Reply #8 on: August 27, 2020, 11:28:09 PM
Hi Sannna,

I think we can make this possible. I did read it online, but I think my source is also gone.

Nevertheless, we can post it here. If you want it earlier, please feel free to contact me.  8)


positively unsure。


Offline Sannna

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Reply #9 on: August 28, 2020, 07:26:29 AM
Thank you so much, can't wait to be finally able to read the book.  :)



Offline helenmoon

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Reply #10 on: August 28, 2020, 04:47:33 PM
Just a small excerpt from the book from here:

http://xjapanfansforum.informe.com/x-no-sei-to-shi-uchuu-o-kakeru-tomo-e-dt244.html

"Prologue
Taiji, Sawada Taiji…I wonder, do you really know the person called by this name?

It may be that I am not someone who can publish a book that's worthy of a great award.

The fact is, just a little bit before this, I was a homeless man whose very existence had disappeared.

In the things I did after I quit X, my life took a downward turn.

No matter where I go, for some reason I can't settle my mind.

Though I thought that I must have had a screw loose somewhere, my body and my soul were both rusty, and it became hard to move smoothly.

Frankly, even now, I can't find this screw.

But even so, it's true that it's as if something has gone missing.

While I stretch my hands out to receive drop after drop of the oil of hope, I am doing nothing but continuing to polish away at the rust.

Until this heavy rusted body of mine shines brightly with new life again, I will continue to work hard.

And afterwards, I will only continue to look for that misplaced screw. As I gather up the pieces one by one of the rust that has peeled off, I will continue my search.

And so, now having the many pieces of rust in my hands, the time has come when they can finally be able to be made to rest in peace.

At the same time, this is nothing short of a requiem for my friend who is flying freely through the universe: hide."

Your scars are beautiful


Offline helenmoon

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Reply #11 on: August 28, 2020, 05:09:23 PM
and...:

"X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 3
 16. Yoshiki

It has been 16 years since I first met Yoshiki.

Yoshiki, the one who introduced me to X. Yoshiki, the one who made me quit X. Yoshiki has always been the one holding the key to my life. I think that perhaps he is the most intelligent person I have ever met.

He founded X with Toshi in Chiba's Tateyama City. Then obviously they advanced to Tokyo, and by the time anyone noticed, he had already sucked into his own band all the great names from the bands around him. Such great timing and his skill at choosing people could be called "genius."

After the five of us had joined X, we grew so quickly it was frightening. Yoshiki's musical conceptualizations flowed out shockingly one by one, and brought about such a pleasant feeling that I had never ever felt before. But at the same time, I wondered if I was the only one who thought that maybe we were trying to live a little too quickly…? With such a rapid speed, floating adrift, it was also repellant. Every day was both tense and uplifting.

The relationship between me and Yoshiki isn't something that I can speak about. So let me continue to give examples of how I see him.

He was a selfish, spoiled child but still lent an ear to the opinions of people around him; he was actually only worried about what happened to himself but still was a kind parent to others; he was innocent to anything outside music but he carried a kindness within himself; he was exceptionally proud, a sore loser, and a hard to like man.

Furthermore, he was an action man of foresight, and an idea man who would act upon even the most outrageous idea. If that could be put together easily, wouldn't we get a hardworking man, a legendary man, a very human, masochistic, sort of man?

If I try to put it like that, then to this day I think that because I also kept trying again and again to reach my goal, mightn't we be considered two people who greatly resemble each other?

The face of a beautiful angel and the face of a grieving devil. I believe that those two faces, so hard to live with, make up the human being that is Yoshiki."

Your scars are beautiful


Offline Purple Spider

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Reply #12 on: September 07, 2020, 07:43:48 PM
The book is a little bit long so I'll post it in many parts. This is the first part "X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 1" which is only about hide. Because yeah, a whole part of this book is dedicated to him. I actually didn't know how much Taiji loved and admired hide before reading this.

X NO SEI TO SHI
To my friend hide:

My restless self gazes
To the white clouds beyond the horizon
I ask the spray of the waves to erase this sadness
For the stormy waves to extinguish the screaming in my heart
The smile of the one who floats through the skies
The one who flies completely freely through the universe
I dream of sending you a message like this

In order to conceal the sadness of my heart in the chill wind
I get on my bike and rush away
Though the seasons change
For all eternity, I could never do such a thing as forget you
The smile of the one who floats through the skies
The happy playing of musical tunes
I dream of sending you a message like this

I wanted this search for the soul to be our journey together
I wanted us to build a musical bridge together

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 1
1. hide to no Deai
[When I First Met hide]

I first met hide at the Kagurazaka "Explosion" livehouse. I was only 17 at the time, and playing in the band "Dementia." One side of hide could be seen as the leader of the legendary band "Saver Tiger" at the time. For quite some time before, I had said, "I'd like try to be on the same stage with Saver Tiger," and I pleaded with the store manager, and he promised to make it a reality.

The band lead by hide, Saver Tiger, had come to my attention formerly, and of course I wanted to play on the same stage as them, because even when I was just a member of the audience, I would watch them with rapt attention. At the time of the event, I remember the television stations coming to collect footage.

After the performance was over, hide said to me, "Your hair is really freaking awesome."

At that time, my hair stuck up everywhere like a hedgehog. It was a very radical hairstyle. When hide said that to me, I felt so great about the overwhelming power in Saver Tiger's show that to not say this would have been wrong:

"It was a good stage. We could beat any other band like this anywhere."

To tell the truth, I felt that we'd as Dementia and Saver Tiger had eaten up everyone else with our powerful performance.

This time, I'd only talked a bit with hide, so we parted without getting each other's phone numbers or anything.

Unexpectedly I met hide again about two years afterwards. I was participating in the launch of the band of Yoshiki's friend, and hide was there.

Furthermore, Yoshiki and Toshi had started X activities. Though of course hide and I hadn't joined yet, X was becoming pretty famous in the indies world. At any rate, their performance on stage was so overwhelming and fiery that it became a topic of discussion.

Though I had thought "he's a reticent person," from the first time we met, at this band launch, hide just sat there in silence and drank. So I could do nothing but sit and drink too. Even so, we somehow started talking about the artists we liked.

"What bands do you like?" I asked.

hide said, "Really old bands."

Having said that, he proceeded to give examples: T-Rex, Steppin Wolf, Doobie Brothers. As it turned out, those were bands I liked too, so the conversation turned to their styles of playing.

For example, Led Zeppelin.

"I think Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones rocks."

"No way, John Bonham is great."

When hide and I met again then, I felt that our conversation was so sharp and lively, and that hide was a very sensitive person, very in control of himself.

For example, when we were talking about Zeppelin, he didn't just stay on the topic of the band, but instead he thought of talking about if John Bonham or John Paul Jones was good. Furthermore, even if you say that "heta-uma" [1] is a bad thing, his thinking was that it was all right if the things he wanted to convey were said in a clumsy way. Philosophically, hide made you feel an anti-Establishmentarian atmosphere around him.

If I can say this, he was a very punkish person. A cool theorist, smart, good at making people laugh. However, because he never got close to people who didn't suit his taste, he never got involved in anything.

This time too, we didn't give each other our addresses. To think about it, we went through Yoshiki to get to really meet.

Speaking of which, Yoshiki, Toshi, and hide went out to eat. Close to the studio in Ikebukuro, there was a cheap restaurant that served set meals, and they often went there.

He just never went out drinking, because he was a very violent drunk.

 
Translation notes:
[1] Apparently, "heta-uma" is an art term. From the Donald Judd page:
"Neo-Expressionists's 'poor' technique was called 'heta-uma' (unskillful- skillful manner) in Japan. That naming indicated that their unskillful manner of painting has become an effective skill of painting."

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 1
2. Tsune ni Saki o Iku hide
[hide, Constantly Walking Ahead]

In X, the one who most matched me and my musical intentions was hide.

For example, I would think of three different arrangements for the same song. When I asked which one was the best, the one who agreed with me usually was hide. We had different ways of expressing it, but our sense of music was the same.

We were the opposite of Yoshiki and Toshi in that both of us thought that rock music shouldn't have ballads. At that time, we wanted to make more hard-hitting rock songs.

Because I gave the other members lots of orders, I was always nagging. But strangely, I didn't do it to hide, and I was never dissatisfied with him.

Rather, being in the center of hide's music, we would be in such synergy that it was just the same as when I would tell the other members things.

At any rate, hide's guitar produced such unique sounds that even now I really love the music that he wrote.

No matter what you say about technique, in saying you could do this, or you could do that, you become almost like an acrobat, but in hide's case, he held in high regard the approach of making a song come alive to the utmost limit.

So, he would give me songs that had a really easy bass part. Of course, that was because the sense of them fitted me.

Next in this development, we never sat down and had conversations like "Let's do this here," but in spite of that, everything fit together smoothly. Actually, there were many times, like Jealousy, when I would say in surprise, "Ah, we should do it like this all the time."

Though I would arrange songs with fairly high self-confidence, hide helped it grow more. In regards to what I played, he helped me grow to 100% in arranging. I really think he was a genius capable of handling anything.

No matter how I say it, hide was someone who was walking far ahead of the 80's way of music conceptualization. Isn't that right? So, maybe there is a little clash of meanings here.

For example, even though I couldn't really understand the times he lived in, there would be many times in which afterwards, I would look back at hide's arrangements and say, "Oh, I get it."

I wasn't the only one who felt so respectful towards hide. I believe firmly that to the other members as well, hide was the leader of calmness.

Though Yoshiki was the band leader, when he would say "hide, what do you think about this?" if hide said, "that's not bad," then everyone else would agree. You could call him X's counselor, as it were.

When he gave advice, hide would first keep quiet and let the other person share their opinion, and then he would say what he thought. Though he was a theorist, he wouldn't hold people down and twist their arms to win an argument, but instead he would use his powers of persuasion.

On the other hand, if I was particularly pleased with something I'd arranged, he'd give me a big, showy reaction. That was the kind of man he was.

Incidentally, you might think it surprising, but hide and I didn't have much of a private friendship outside the band.

No matter how I put it, I was unmarried and the type to think about things other than the band [lit: everything]. I would rather go out and expand my circle of friends outside of X, because I wanted to attract cool people, so I never really went anywhere with hide or went out drinking with him when we were in our off time.

Just once, hide came over to my house.

Of course, because it was noon, we just drank, and while playing guitar, we had conversations like "what should we do about this arrangement here?" As a matter of fact, I wasn't quite sure what hide was talking about as the conversation went on.

hide had a very deep way of talking. It wasn't troublesome or theoretical or anything like that; it was profound. That didn't just end with music either. For example, there was a scene in a movie that he talked to me about and gave all his impressions about, but I couldn't understand what he was getting at.

What was I to do at times like that? The only thing I could do was just to give a bitter smile and kept on drinking or playing my guitar to camouflage the fact that I didn't understand.

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 1
3. Tour Saki de hide wa Nandomo Kireta
[At the Beginning of a Tour, hide Would Get Angry]

When X started during nationwide, there were many things that we discovered. We woke up. Among those things, I want to tell you one that really left an impression on me.

It happened when the bands Jun Sky Walkers and ZIGGY were around. They and a few other bands that they knew had a joint open-air concert that X also performed in.

All of the bands that were performing were staying in the same hotel, and one night, I and the bassist of ZIGGY were sitting in the hotel lounge having a drink.

Suddenly I saw hide come into the lounge. He was having a drink with M, ZIGGY'S vocalist.

This guy M was usually a really nice guy, but when he started drinking, he would change completely. So when I saw that he was drinking with hide, I thought to myself, "this isn't good."

Sure enough, they two of them began to quarrel. Because hide was also a person who, once something was started, couldn't let go, I saw that the situation was turning into one just as if oil had been poured on a fire.

The quarrel turned into a huge argument, and no one was able to pacify hide, who shook off the restraining hand of a staff member. Grabbing a nearby fire extinguisher, he sprayed it through the entire lounge.

That was really amazing. It goes without saying that the inside of the lounge was entirely wrecked. It was obvious that this was the reason that, from the following year on, X was the only band that stayed in a separate hotel.

Things like this would happen. We were in Hokkaido for a tour.

I was sleeping in the hotel, and in the middle of the night around 2 or 3 AM, I woke up because I could hear an almost yakuza-like fight going on downstairs. It got so loud that I got up, and when I went to see what was going on, I saw that someone was arguing with the people at the front desk in the lobby.

It was a dead-drunk hide.

I remember that it hide was shouting with a feeling of "Bastards! I'll kill you!"

This went on till hide finally held up his fists.

I thought hide was going to punch them, and then he thrust his index finger and middle finger outwards and stuck them up the nostrils of the two front desk people.

The only thing I could do was think in shock, "What the hell?" and almost died laughing. Wasn't he thinking about punching them, and then right when he was on the verge to do so, didn't he change his mind and stick his fingers up their noses instead?

Even doing this, deciding in a split second to stick his fingers up their noses, is harder than just punching someone. The people at the front desk did nothing but plead, "Please stop! Please stop!" Finally, I was able to restrain hide, and he took his fingers out of their noses and it was over, but even now I have no idea what caused this scene to happen.

I don't have a strong sense of duty towards other people, but even so, hide, who got angry so easily, was not affected by it, and the two of us never fought.

hide would want to fight with me, but I could never do that with him, so I would always give up. He would pull me in and assume the pose of someone about to punch me, and then I would say, "Maa, maa, wait just a second. Hold on! Let's drink!"

I wouldn't get provoked and I wouldn't get angry, and so hide would get bored and stop.

Wasn't it just perhaps that hide wanted me to get angry at him?

Even so, in our "3 person alliance" of me, hide, and Yoshiki, we would never be angry at the same time. When I was angry, hide would calm me down, when hide was angry, I would calm him down, and when Yoshiki was angry, it was either me or hide who would calm him down.

But there was a match for hide's uncontrollable temper.

It was a cockroach. Though hide really hated all bugs, out of them all, he especially hated cockroaches, and he would run away when he saw one.

Though we would be rehearsing in the studio, we would have to go on break when we received clear proof of his absence.

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 1
4. Dattai Chokuzen, hide wa Hitori de Namida o Nagashita
[Just Before My Departure, hide Wept Alone]

My departure from X was inevitable.

When I think about it now, wasn't everyone saying things like that when I wasn't around? Then Yoshiki, being the band's representative, was the one who told me that I had to go.

It was clear in the first half of December 1991. Yoshiki and I sat down in a room, just the two of us, and we had a talk.

And then, January 7, 1992 at Tokyo Dome.

It was the last time I would be on stage as a member of X, and the other members shouted out at the audience until their voices were gone. However, no one said anything to me, not even a word of goodbye. Not even hide. After all, there was a huge crowd of people and many staff members there, so the members couldn't gather in one place, and they all left to drink with their respective friends.

Surely everyone understood my feelings, and yet they said nothing when they saw me.

And then, afterwards, I heard this.

On New Years' Eve in 1991, X participated in NHK's Kouhouku [trans note: Red and White musician "battle"] and then went to the Rokumeido in Meguro for a countdown live. Afterwards, I heard that hide opened a window and stood there alone staring outside, crying.

When I heard this, I felt like everything inside my head went white, and along with that, many of my memories started appearing and disappearing like a revolving lantern.

After I left X, our schedules weren't very compatible anymore, so hide and I started seeing each other considerably less. I was also starting up the activities of my band "Loudness," and we mostly stopped crossing paths.

And yet, I was always concerned about hide.

In particular, after hide stopped X Japan activities and went solo, I thought that was a great period of growth for him. Actually, because hide and I never saw each other, I had no idea of any personal issues that he had, but the new image of "Myself" that he was making for himself was, in my eyes, a great fresh start for him.

Because he wasn't the leader of X, hide certainly had suppressed a small part of himself, and never said "This is what I want to do." However, it wasn't necessary to suppress anything when he went solo.

I looked on hide partly with feelings of envy, saying "He can do whatever he wants to do..."

Because of all of this, he was also artistic fashionably. He had a great fashion sense.

He looked great in old clothes, and he was also able to dress outrageously in new clothes. The only word I can say about him is "great" [lit: "sugoi"]

In this way, hide pressed ahead on the road he himself had chosen, and the next time I saw him again was, ironically, in May of 1998; the place: a funeral home.

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 1
5. Subete o Kaeta hide no Shi
[The Death of hide, Which Changed Everything]

hide died.

I heard this on the day that hide's remains were enshrined at the funeral home in Shinagawa.

Naturally, I panicked. Then, I called a taxi and got in, but I had no idea where I should go.

The truth is that it was not really told to anyone what funeral home hide had been placed in. Everyone was panicking just like me, and didn't know whether the information that had been given was accurate. The information was also very complicated, so the only thing I was told was the general location.

Because the taxi driver also didn't know when I asked him, I was in such a hurry that I got out of the taxi and started running around looking for it.

I have no idea exactly how many kilometers I ran. I just kept running and running...halfway, I couldn't breathe, and normally my legs would have been hurting and I would have stopped running, but no matter what, I couldn't stop.

And then suddenly I found the place.

Though the viewing hours at the funeral home were until 10 PM, I barely made it there at the last minute. Somehow, I got inside.

I was told hide's whereabouts and they showed me to him.

"Ah, there is a god," I said, and I thanked them as I gasped for breath.

I was the very last person in the viewing hall, and I had a five-minute meeting with hide.

Lying in the casket, hide's face looked proud and noble, a true forward-looking rock and roller to the end.

I was still surprised and stunned, and couldn't believe the reality before my eyes.

Suddenly, I cried out to hide.

"Oi, why are you sleeping?"

The next day, hide's 3-day private funeral started at Tsukijihonwan Temple, and it went on all night.

I never imagined that I would meet the members of X after such a long time in a place like this, with such a sad expression on our faces.

However, coming before the casket that held hide's body, the words that came from our mouths were just:

"What music have you been listening to lately?"

Though we were all musicians, though we were meeting again after a long time, I thought that maybe this was not the occasion for conversations like that.

Butcall of us talked about that on purpose. None of us could grasp the fact that hide was no longer living on this earth. We were trying to avoid the truth of "hide's death."

Didn't all of us want to think that hide hadn't saddened us and made everything painful?

But all the same, we couldn't stop our overflowing tears. Yoshiki, Toshi, Pata, and also mec

We had only exchanged brief words with hide's family, and hadn't said much in the past. That was why this time, we thought we would go to hide's real family.

After hide's death, the media said many things.

Suicide, accidentc

But I think that it couldn't have been anything but an accident. No, that's the only thing I can think.

Usually, a guitarist hangs his strap over his shoulder, and his neck will get sore from headbanging. So he goes in for a massage where his neck is stretched out, and it's possible to heal it like that. hide was doing that with a towel on a doorknob, and died. And because he had been drinking, he must have dropped off to sleep.

It's often said,"When he strangled himself, he was just trying to accomplish the oppositec" hide also gradually became aware of what he was doing. I really believe this.

When hide died, everything inside me changed.

In particular, that first year afterwards was painful. I denied it, and was very hard on myself. I kept drinking, and I kept being confused.

Then I thought about hide's dying wish and the fact that there was something I had to do.

That was: music. I resolved to start music again.

So then, I thought that everyone should think more about what "life and death" was. The result of my thinking was that I thought that I should have my own opinions and purpose, and if I reached the answer to what I was living for, that was all that mattered.

Now, I am walking and looking ahead.

This strength is what hide has presented me with. What did hide's life mean to me? But I can't find the words to answer that question.

There are too many answers to that for me to put them into words.



Offline Purple Spider

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Reply #13 on: September 08, 2020, 08:01:30 PM
This is the second part "X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 2", where Taiji talks about his life from his childhood till when he joined X.


X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 2
1. Chisana Kamen Ridaa
[Little Masked Rider]

I used to think that stories of my childhood weren't worth much. Just a short time ago, I would think, isn't it enough that I show you "the me of the present"? But now, it's different.

The me of the present is made up of all of those things. I have come to believe that the nature that I was born with and the experiences that I have absorbed and rejected over time have made me who I am today.

It was July 12, 1966, a hot summer day. It was the birthday of the second son of the Sawada family, Taiji.

My birthplace was Ichigawa City, in Chiba prefecture. Of course, though I don't have any memories of me as a baby, as far as I've seen from pictures, I was born in quite a regular family, and seem to have been generally happy.

A fragment of memory that is left behind is from when I was in kindergarten. I wonder if it is a special characteristic of second sons that they grow to be naughty boys.

At any rate, I liked to play outside a lot of the time, and if my friends were there, I would be very happy. I never lost to any of my friends, but at the same time, that meant that we had huge fights.

From that time on, I was the leader, a boy who never lost. For example, I would say "We're going to play tag now," and without saying a word, everyone would do as I said.

In my case, I didn't just fight, but I had a strong sense of justice, and at that time, I was the same as the hero "Kamen Rider" [trans note: Kamen Rider means "Masked Rider." It was a famous anime series back in the day.] Though I had some meaningless fights, I was not a coward who picked fights and damaged things. Wasn't that why everyone instinctively said, "We will definitely call you 'Kamen Rider,' the defender of justice"?

Surrounded by friends who called out, "Tai-chan! Tai-chan!" more and more, I simply took on the manner of a child leader. I truly passed the days of my kindergarten years with a sense of brilliance. However, because this "sense of justice" that was born at that time would later cause my life to go crazy, life is a very cynical thing.

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 2
2. Kyoudai no Yakuwari
[The Roles of Siblings]

People are always saying "Kids should have a lot of siblings," and "someone who is an only child is lonely," and things like that, and I do not understand at all the reasoning of those people who say that.

Maybe there really is merit to it. However, even if everyone shares the same genes, there will be things that don't match up. Because you are siblings, it's unbelievable how many times you fight and then make up immediately afterwards. On the other hand, because "once a sibling, always a sibling," I think that you will continue to be dragged along by whatever the other person does.

As for me, I have a an older brother. He's different from me; he was an honor student. He was good at studying, really the stereotypical older brother.

Because I had this kind of a brother, I promised something to myself when I was still small.

"My brother competes with me for studying. So I'm going to play sports cause he's bad at them!"

What's more, I was thinking, "Good thing the Sawada family has an eldest son. It's best for me to leave everything to him."

Because of that, I was always at odds with my brother, and even though we would play together, I was always cold to him. So we never fought. What's more, I would have nothing to do with him.

Maybe it's that brothers and sisters carry that element of setting a bad example for each other.

However, it was entirely different with my younger sister. Masayo was really a great friend, and I loved her. When she would come home crying, no matter what I would face the person who made her cry and say, "What did you do to my beloved sister!?"

My little sister would cry "Oniichan, oniichan!" and I would think to myself, "I have to protect her!" and every day, I grew stronger so that I could do that.

At that time, what happened was that the stronger I grew, the more worried I got about her, and even when she would go out to play and came home late, I would scold her more than was necessary. I was just like a father who had an only daughter. Masayo also really loved music, and she would gather her friends together close to our house, and, getting up on a stage, would proudly mimic popular idols to applause, and she would have a satisfied look of joy on her face. That was just when she was 3 or 4 years old.

I'm bragging, but Masayo really is good at singing. Even now, she's active with her talent in a music unit called "Cybernation Network" and has put out 5 singles.

At that time, my strongest feeling was, "I have to protect those who are weaker than me, those who are important to me."

In order to do that, even to this day, my position is that if I see a weak person or someone who is being oppressed, I feel that I have to free them, and I'm filled with the energy to do something alongside those people.

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 2
3. Kinjirareta Asobi
[Forbidden Plaything]

All musicians have limitless imaginations, but in the middle of ordinary days surrounded by music, I think there is one main cause that makes our many musical talents start to bloom.

That was the case with me. We had a guitar in my house and my father used to play it. My family wasn't one that would give us education in things we enjoyed, so whenever my father played the guitar, I would sit next to him and watch, and for some reason, I remembered it.

The first time I copied his playing, the guitar was a "forbidden plaything." I was in second grade. It was the first time I held a guitar, and after I challenged the idea of a "forbidden plaything," 3 months passed, and I could play it. At the same time, I got on stage at our second grade school assembly for the first time.

That was an opportunity for me, and more and more I became a prisoner of the guitar and then music.

The genre of music was expanding for me, and when I heard the Beatles and Queen for the first time, I definitely received a shock.

I wanted to be like that someday. Just like people who have found an interest in music for the first time, I wanted to make music like the music which was able to influence me.

As an aside, out of all the songs of Queen that I heard, the one that really struck me was "We are the Champions" [trans note: Taiji spells it as "We are The CHAMPION"]. But I couldn't accept that vocalist Freddie Mercury's homosexuality was the cause of him passing away, and it was a great shock to me.

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 2
4. Eleki e no Michi [The Road to Electric Guitar]

After the period where I was enamoured by the acoustic guitar of Queen and the Beatles, I started listening to Kiss, Rainbow, and Motorhead.

The first LP I bought was "I Surrender" and my first 7 inch record was by John Denver. At that time when I was in middle school, I was a genuine Western music freak. Because of that, I was the one who would tell my Japanese-music-crazy classmates about Western music.

My middle school was high-class so I commuted, but I stopped studying, and got into Chiba Meitoku High School only because they had music class. But somehow, others of my friends who, like me, didn't even go to look at the announcement of who had passed the entrance exams, ended up passing.

With that, the days began where I threw myself entirely into music. My first year in high school I got an electric guitar, but I already had a guitar case from 8th grade.

The electric guitar was relatively easy, and I began copying songs from Rainbow and Motorhead. From Japanese bands, I would copy songs from kid's bands and Loudness.

On the other hand, for music, the class that had been my deciding factor in coming to this high school, I played the Beatles. Just as I thought, even after all these years, the artist who I had first been interested still had a place inside my heart.

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 2

5. “Multi-sports boy”

In most cases of a troublemaker boy’s journey toward adulthood, they usually play sports. I was exactly the same, and was very active in my childhood. In fact, physical activity was what I was best it. In things like Phys. Ed., I stood out above the rest.

Also in those days, we played things like soccer at school. Because I really liked things like soccer, it wasn’t really what you would call “soccer practice”, but like I said before, I was naturally good at that kind of thing.
At that time, our teacher was someone who had been in the SDF, so unlike a teacher who was passionate about things like charts and diagrams, he was able to judge students’ motor skills well.
Whenever he saw me kicking a ball around when I played, this teacher said to me, “Taiji, you’re good, you should join the soccer club.”
His praise made me happy, so feeling confident that I had talent, I went with the teacher’s recommendation and joined the soccer club. This was when I was in my third year of elementary school.
Truthfully, the school I went to was said to be the best in Shikawa, and because it was relatively well-known, the soccer club was kind of competitive. Because of that, everyone worked hard and there was a lot of staff as well.
At that time, I got a position that required me to have really fast feet. If your feet were fast, you wouldn’t lose to anyone. From then on, I was always running around in the mud.
Thinking back on it now, in elementary school, I really did play sports every day.
Around the time I started soccer, I also started liking baseball, so to fulfill my longing, I joined a little league team. It was a local team, so I would play soccer at school, and then after coming home I played baseball. Moreover, on Sundays, I would spend from morning to evening totally immersed in playing baseball.
I played shortstop and my batting number was sixth. We were called the Shikawa Mets and we were pretty strong, and when I was in year six, I finally was used as a regular player.
It might be soccer now, but when I was a kid, baseball was really looked at as being the most impressive sport. I was also a Yomiuri Giants fan, so it was natural that I joined a little league team.
I said my position was shortstop, but from time to time I also had to play catcher. At that time, I thought playing catcher wasn’t very cool, so I didn’t really want to do it. But then one time, I suddenly realised something.
“I see, the catcher is actually really important.”
The catcher has to understand every position, and has to give signs to the pitcher. You might even say it was the most important position. When I had to give those signs, I had to take in everything with my eyes in a moment. I began to excel at it, and developed three different patterns.
Eventually, my Shikawa Mets won the Chiba Prefecture tournament and I was able to come out of it with a lot of great memories from my little league experience.

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 2
7. “What kind of a position am I in?!”

So I ended my compulsory education years by doing nothing but soccer, baseball, table tennis, and guitar.
If you think about it, soccer and baseball and table tennis don’t have much in common. Usually you can clearly tell whether you’re more of a group player or individual player. In my case, I was able to have fun doing both and achieved good results.

While I was doing table tennis, because I was responsible for whether I won or lost, I was able to feel at ease.
“Bring it on! Everything is up to me!” was the kind of outlook I had. Because of that, I am probably more suited to individual play.
But it seems to me that whether it’s individual or a team it doesn’t matter. I discovered that after starting a band.
Soccer and bands are both team play. If you make a mistake, you have to face the responsibility of it.
However, within that, it’s important to know where you stand.
If you frequently make mistakes, won’t you become a bother to everyone? Naturally, my sore loser self wasn’t that kind of person. I practiced more than others in order to level up and be in a position where I could be in command.
For example, if it’s a band, if the bass is not firm, the other members will lose their place and become scattered. That’s why I’d always practice in order to make sure I coupld play bass steadily.
In other words, I think that team play (like in a band) is the compilation of indvidiaul effort, where one by one everyone establishes their own part. This is something that people who never put forth great effort and constantly repeat the same mistakes cannot understand.

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 2
8. Restaurant Taiji

When I was in elementary school, the only thing I was interested in was food. Lately, it's very rare that an elementary school student is able to cook. That is to say, outside of being busy with lessons and cram school, nowadays mothers tell their kids that it's too dangerous and don't let them into the kitchen.

But food is something that if you don't practice at, you forget how to make it. Holding a kitchen knife by yourself, trying to flip a frying pan for the first time, learning to check how hot the fire is without hurting yourself...

I started making meat patties and pilaf in the kitchen when I was still in the lower grades at elementary school. Because now you can buy these things frozen, I've stopped making them, but even though back then I could only make pilaf, I had to learn to make it from start to finish, from cracking the egg open to adding in various ingredients.

By repeating this over and over, I became used to doing it.

By the time I was in 4th grade, I'd added enough to my repertoire so that periodically I would have friends over for "lunch parties." Beforehand, I'd make a lunch menu and lunch tickets, and sell them to friends at school for 50 yen.

At the time, I thought 50 yen was a lot of money, but my lunch tickets always sold out. Also, I gave free seconds, and I would always make at least 4 or 5 kinds of food.

On Saturdays, my friends who pick what they liked to eat and walk to my house with their lunch tickets. "Restaurant Taiji" was only open on weekends. I would serve meat patties, spaghetti, curry rice, pilaf, etc. When I received their lunch ticket, they would pick the kind of food they wanted to eat and I would serve the customer.

That was a kind of surreal "playing restaurant," a unique event. Because of that, my house was really the place to be on weekends, as expected. My food was valued so much that people would pay to eat it.

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 2

9.“Life Calling”

I’m not sure if it was because of “Restaurant Taiji” or not, but after that my love for cooking did nothing but escalate.

For example, even if I decided to make nabe, rather than just sticking with the basic technique, I’d add all kinds of things until it became “chicken dumpling nabe”. Moreover, I had every kind of spice and was really particular about how I used them.
The result was that by looking at the ingredients, I could think up any number of ways to cook them. Finally, I got to a point where I could cook sophisticated cuisine, and at that time I began to consider quitting music to become a chef.
However, I started thinking, “if a person who is able to make a living from music enters the world of cooking, a person who can only make a living by cooking will fail. I was born with the ability to make a living from making music, so I should do that,” and had no intent to persist.
From then on, my love for cooking began to stagnate. These days, I don’t really think about whether something is going to be tasty or not, but how well it’ll fill my stomach.
I depend a lot on family restaurants and frozen food these days.
If I’m alone, I can’t be bothered to cook just for my own sake. I derive happiness from hearing the people I cook for praise my cooking and calling it delicious. The feeling of, “Alright! This time I’ll make something even more delicious!” is more satisfying than the actual act of cooking.
However, even though I’m taking a break from cooking, I have no intention of letting my sense of taste fade. Even every day simple meals should taste good.
There is a chef I like called Rosanjin. This is one of his theories.
“A cooking prodigy has a developed tongue by age 3.”
So unless you are able to read really amazing things from the time you’re small, you can’t be raised to be a great chef. But it seems that in actuality he left his mother and entered an apprenticeship and had poor eating habits, unable to eat the things he wanted to eat. Certainly Rosanjin put forth a great effort to get as far as he did, right?
Within him there were walls he ran into that he had to cross over by any means, and eventually while continuing to chase this idea, his life may have ended.
A life in which you stumbled into being a prodigy… But I get the feeling that this theory is unique to those who get to do what they want as a child.
In my case, by no means did I only get to eat delicious stuff, but thanks to the fact that I was filled with the desire to create, I can brag that even now I have a tongue that can tell the intricate differences in things that are both gross and delicious.
I think it’s the same way with music. I couldn’t say so by age three, but I played instruments as a child and grew up in an environment where I could befriend music.

 
X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 2

10. “The pleasure of fishing”

In the period shortly before graduating, I got into fishing. It helped that my house was near Edogawa, and using a fishing pole I could catch fish like koi and funa.

Edogawa at that time was cleaner than it is today, so I was also able to catch things like minnows, mullets, herabuna, and black bass.
I researched each kind of fish’s characteristics and habitats and what kind of reels and hooks to use for each of them. Before I knew it, I had become a kid like in the manga “Tsuri Kichin Sanbei”.
After arriving at the river, I’d go straight to the fishing point, and to protect against cold I’d start a fire. After that, I’d attach my bait and cast my line. Until I reeled it in, even if I was nervous, I did things like contemplate my life.
I guess it was a different story for the fish I caught.
For example, sometimes I’d cook and eat the fish there, or sometimes I’d return it to the river. The only fish I took home with me were carp. If it was a particularly cute carp, I’d end up wanting to keep it as a pet. I’d put it in a small water tank the size of a bath tub and look after it every day.
I took care of it with all my might in order to prevent it from dying, but once the fish smell became unbearable, my parents scolded me, and tearfully I’d return it the river.
Even so, my parents would also sometimes ask me to catch certain fish. My dad said he would pay me 500 yen for unagi. Unagi aren’t fish that are caught often. They bury themselves down in sandy soil, so you need a special pole in order to catch them and need earthworms for bait. Furthermore, you can only catch them at night, and if you aren’t good at attaching small earthworms, you’re not going to be able to catch anything.
I was able to successfully catch 10 unagi, so that day I made 5000 yen. To my elementary school self, 5000 yen was a lot of money, but looking back, for all the hassle I went through to catch them, it wasn’t enough.
I still fish now, but now for me the pleasure isn’t in actually going fishing, but in the preparation for fishing. I make my own hooks and arrange my sinkers in preparation. It’s hard to put into words why this is enjoyable.
While preparing, my dreams swell up. Before I know it, the inside of my head is filled with images of catching huge fish. Even though I know that in reality this is impossible, but I get excited thinking up those wild ideas, so I’m just not able to quit fishing.
I can say the same thing about music.
For example, the day before a live, I adjust the tension of my bass. I make adjustments while imagining the audience’s exciting faces at the performance. Finally, while imagining myself full of satisfication, I prepare for the live by wiping it until it’s shiny.

By preparing with all my heart, I can give 100% during the performance, I always think.
I don’t feel sorry for anyone who is negligent about preparation. They’re probably unaware of the most enjoyable moments…


X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 2

11. “Six years of restriction”

Having an excessive amount of hobbies like guitar, soccer, baseball, cooking, and fishing gave me a thoroughly engaging elementary school period. The experience I got from all these things was priceless.

There was one hobby, however, that I could never get into. That was studying. From my second year in elementary school, I started hating arithmetic. If I thought about becoming a mathmetician in the future, even the idea of it just seemed pointless.
As for other subjects besides math, there were ones I judged as being useful for entering society, so I studied the ones that I favoured. But truthfully, I always saw studying as useless. Other than that, I thought it was important to grasp onto something that you have the ability for and are better at than anyone else.
Even if someone gets only 20 points out of 100, I don’t think you can determine a kid’s human nature by a point system. I became convinced of that little by little during the six year period of restriction called elementary school.
There are always guys who say “I don’t know what I want to do”, but if I were to say, it’s not that they don’t know, it’s just that they haven’t thought about it for themselves. Because of that, they end up choosing to study things that will help them find employment, or decide to become a civil service employee due to stability. I hated that way of life. It was intolerable to me.
That’s why I decided my way of life from elementary school. My motivation was given to me by the guitar. It was because I just really loved to play guitar.
After that, while I was fed up with school’s rules and studying, I was able to let my frustrations out with club activities and managed to get through those six years.


X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 2

11. “The special teacher, Takayanagi-sensei.”

After entering middle school, my plan of attack changed just a little bit. An encounter with a teacher made me re-assess my negative outlook. He was the head teacher.

He was the type of teacher who, once he started talking, made you pray early in the morning that it would be a once in a lifetime encounter. I had somehow closed my eyes to it, but I suddenly realised that he had mysteriously taken a special place in my heart.
Thanks to that teacher, my class was one that had a friendly unity. Actually, even though they were from a different section, I still am acquainted with some of my middle school classmates now. Noboru and Makoto and I, we’ve chosen very different paths, but they always give their unrestrained opinions on my songs.
However, even though I had such a peaceful middle school experience with such a good teacher, it wasn’t enough to make me do a 180 with my life.
As usual, I did nothing with my life but club activities and play guitar. I ignored things like athletic meets and cultural festivals as something stupid, like they were suitable only for elementary-schoolers. In any case, my policy on studying didn’t change at all.
At that time, I was so busy with guitar and table tennis, that I didn’t have any time to pay attention to meeting girls. Or rather, until that point, even if I received chocolates for Valetine’s Day or something, my heart wasn’t moved by girls.
Looking back now, you might say I was a late bloomer in that respect.
Because of that, my three years of middle school passed relatively quietly.
From there, I was finally released through the nine year sentence of compulsory education. After not being able to find any point in school up until that point, there was no way I would see the point in going to high school. As a matter of fact, that special teacher Takayanagi-sensei made another appearance in my life regarding that matter.

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 2

13. “A life bent on rock.”

Even in middle school I almost didn’t study at all. Despite that, the middle school I went to was ranked highly, and despite not doing anything I always managed to be in the top half of my class.

Maybe it was because of Takayanagi-sensei’s teaching methods. After meeting with him, I sort of obediently took his class… I’m not really sure of the reason, but anyway, like the others, I ended up taking the high school entrance exam.

Being that everyone is stuck deciding on school by taking an exam, my classmates were all working hard trying to choose a high school. While putting myself out there amongst all that, I remained calm. There was only school I wanted to go to. If that didn’t work out, I just wouldn’t go to high school or anything. Chiba Meitoku high school. It was a school that had light music club.

My consistent policy toward school work stemming from elementary school was that since nothing would change, I’d do whatever I wanted regarding high school as well.

So, the entrance exam. What I remember about studying for it is nothing at all. I just took classes like normal and ended up passing the exam.

If I recall now, they were relatively simple problems, and I remember thinking that if I wrote anything at all, I’d pass. It was probably because I went to such a good middle school. So because of that, I didn’t even go to see the announcement of the results. As soon as I finished the exam, I already knew I had passed.

So I started having to commute from Shikawa just over an hour by bus and train when I became a high school student.

For a while, I diligently went to school, but once I became accustomed to it, that hour commute because tiresome. After that, I started doing things like stopping at a coffee house or smoking  cigarettes, and I had a habit of being late.

Nevertheless, I had chosen this high school for the light music club. The club activities were the only reason it was special. After I entered the school, I received an invitation from the table tennis club, but after my third year in middle school, I stopped playing sports because in my heart I knew that I only wanted to focus on music. My high school life revolved around music activity.

My first year of high school was also the first time I played electric guitar. Because I had already been playing guitar since my second year of elementary school, I was able to pick it up relatively easily.

At that time, I often played covers of things like Rainbow, Motorhead, kid bands. Furthermore, in my light music club, I could play the Beatles that I liked so much, and in livehouses I played covers of Loudness songs. I really immersed myself in music every day.

However, after only one year of high school, I decided to drop out. Even if they did have a light music club, school doesn’t revolve around club activities. Almost all of my time centered around studying, and I was forced to see anew how pointless it was. I continuously reinforced that as my definitive policy.

That was how I finally closed the curtain on ten years of school work.


X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 2
14. “The birth of a bassist.”

After I dropped out of high school, I kept up with the band, Trash, that I had formed with friends in my same year. Because the other members were still high school students, fees for studio rental and stuff like that came mostly from my job’s paycheck. At that time, I was working as a sign maker. In that band I was the guitarist, but after about a year, we had a falling out and split up.

The next year, when I was 17, I unexpectedly was contacted by the leader a band called Dementia, who I knew from the studio, and he recommended that I join as their bassist. I intended to try it out once just casually, but it was a great hit.

I was showered with praise like, “the bassist is so cool!”, and from then on, I followed the path of a bassist.

It was right about that time. I was playing bass before going to work and then coming home again day after day, but then my mother asked me to leave. Accepting her conditions, I left the house with just a bass. The places I was able to work were limited. Truthfully, the amount I was making at my job wasn’t that much, but I was able to make it work. After I turned 18, I also quit the band Dementia, who had given me my motivation to become a bassist. Without forming a new band, I repeated every day working in a love hotel and practicing bass.

However, if I started a band sooner or later, I had decided on a name. That name was “Dead Wire”. There were no members- it was a band of just myself. I only wrote one song for it. After that, that song was performed in an unexpected place.

At that time, I was friends with a musician named Tetsu. Now he’s in a band called Craze, but in those days he was in the band hide made, Saver Tiger.

Because of the relation between me and Tetsu and Tetsu and hide, Dead Wire’s sole song was performed by Saver Tiger.

This sort of connection- this relationship between friends and band members, was in itself a valuable asset, even if there was no guarantee that we would ever have this kind of strange reunion again.

After that, I joined a band called Prowler, but I was told by phone that I wasn’t good enough.

After that phone call, I had no prediction on how I would change my life.

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 3
1. “The period of trial and error.”

One day, I was casually reading “Rockin’ f” and saw an article about X. It said they were able to make really great songs. Right after that, I got a phone call from Yoshiki.

X at that time was Yoshiki, Toshi, the mohawked Hikaru on bass, and Shou on guitar, and if I had to say, they were a pretty punk-ish band.

I can’t say it’s because I knew they were good, but somehow or other they were popular, so I knew of X’s existence.

That’s why at the time I was invited to join x, after I thought about it, I answered that I would join if some member changes were possible.

I’d be the first to admit that the only thing I had confidence in was arranging. I temporarily arranged some of X’s songs from that time, but even doing that, it didn’t seem likely that my arrangements would be enough to break apart their lineup.

Finally, after Yoshiki thought about it, he chose me. X became just Yoshiki and Toshi, and I joined on both bass and guitar.

After that, Pata joined. I was glad, because then I could play bass to my heart’s content, but shortly after that, that happiness was over. As usual, I couldn’t help having to play guitar for a number of songs, and so I ended up dropping out of X for a while.

At that time, my role was to bring the spirit of rock into the songs that Yoshiki wrote. However, no matter how many times I would arrange them, I felt a hopeless impatience, like I had to make the best out of it, and I ended up becoming depressed.

After that, until hide joined X, I was stuck in an unsettled loop of trial and error which I couldn’t break out of.



Offline helenmoon

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Reply #14 on: September 10, 2020, 08:20:40 AM
Thank you so much :-*

Your scars are beautiful


Offline hiko

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Reply #15 on: October 30, 2020, 01:36:09 AM
I can't thank you enough for posting this, I've wanted to read it for nearly 8 years now!!!  ;D

I can't wait to read this.  You've just given me another form of procrastination for schoolwork...  ;D

SLEEP IS A DRUG 🕷


Offline Purple Spider

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Reply #16 on: October 30, 2020, 06:31:29 PM
I can't thank you enough for posting this, I've wanted to read it for nearly 8 years now!!!  ;D

I can't wait to read this.  You've just given me another form of procrastination for schoolwork...  ;D

You're welcome ! And thanks for your message, you just reminded me to post the next parts.

Good lecture then :D. It's okay to procrastinate if it's to learn more about X, that's what i was doing during my 2 last years of high school lol.



Offline Purple Spider

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Reply #17 on: October 30, 2020, 06:34:00 PM



Offline Purple Spider

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Reply #18 on: October 30, 2020, 06:51:17 PM
Here's the third part "X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 3", i love this one because this is where he talks about his beginning with X and each member one by one. I thought what he said about them in each chapter was really interesting. I also love the chapter about the white whale.


X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 3
1. “The period of trial and error.”

One day, I was casually reading “Rockin’ f” and saw an article about X. It said they were able to make really great songs. Right after that, I got a phone call from Yoshiki.

X at that time was Yoshiki, Toshi, the mohawked Hikaru on bass, and Shou on guitar, and if I had to say, they were a pretty punk-ish band.

I can’t say it’s because I knew they were good, but somehow or other they were popular, so I knew of X’s existence.

That’s why at the time I was invited to join x, after I thought about it, I answered that I would join if some member changes were possible.

I’d be the first to admit that the only thing I had confidence in was arranging. I temporarily arranged some of X’s songs from that time, but even doing that, it didn’t seem likely that my arrangements would be enough to break apart their lineup.

Finally, after Yoshiki thought about it, he chose me. X became just Yoshiki and Toshi, and I joined on both bass and guitar.

After that, Pata joined. I was glad, because then I could play bass to my heart’s content, but shortly after that, that happiness was over. As usual, I couldn’t help having to play guitar for a number of songs, and so I ended up dropping out of X for a while.

At that time, my role was to bring the spirit of rock into the songs that Yoshiki wrote. However, no matter how many times I would arrange them, I felt a hopeless impatience, like I had to make the best out of it, and I ended up becoming depressed.

After that, until hide joined X, I was stuck in an unsettled loop of trial and error which I couldn’t break out of.


X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 3
2. “The beginning of everything.”

I think it was undoubtedly because hide liked Yoshiki.

During the time that I was out of X, hide joined. At that time, hide, the leader of the band Saver Tiger, joined X, and I was also re-selected to join.

In the end, I ended up rejoining because of the fact that hide joined.

That was the point from which X became indestructible. Yoshiki, Toshi, Pata, hide, and I solidly came together and things started to go into motion.

There was talk before and after, but the X that existed until that point had core fans and were reasonably popular, but being popular in the music industry was terrible. We didn’t worry too much about what the critics wrote, but it was hide who wouldn’t be silent about it.

“Do you think it’s fine for them to make us look stupid? If we leave X as it is, it won’t be any good. We need to arrange more.”

Because of hide’s words, we were able to rise to our true ability. We went to Madarao Mountain Resort, stayed together, and began working on the arrangment for Kurenai. hide and I would arrange every little detail, and then we would come together and solidify the sound. Everything started from that point.

In 1987, Yoshiki started the label “Extasy Records”, which only X was part of, and we entered production for the album “Vanshing Vision”.

From that time, I privately really believed in us. From about three months before the album went on sale, I thought, “this band can sell. Finally, we’ll be free from all the criticism we’ve been getting.”

The result was right on with my expectations.

An unprecedented 15,000 copies of Vanishing Vision were sold, which broke a record for indies album at that time.

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 3
3. “Band and work.”

These days, long, colourful hair isn’t out of the ordinary, but in those days it was an obstacle that could keep you from getting even a part-time job. However, without working, we wouldn’t have been able to afford studio fees. And above all else, we wouldn’t have been able to live.

Just like everyone else, we had a period where the band wasn’t making any money.

Toshi, who had long, blonde hair, wore a black wig and worked as a bartender. Pata worked at a video rental shop. I continued my cleaning job at the love hotel I started at after I dropped out of high school.

Even working as hard as we could, our money instantly vanished into studio rental fees.

At that time, Toshi was in charge of the finances. He would keep track of the rental fees and various other expenses and calculate them, collect money from each member, and keep track of our savings.

To reach 50,000 yen, Pata and the others would hand over their entire salary, but I didn’t have any extra money on hand, so I sold things like my stereo or books until the five us managed to somehow come up with the money.

However, the hardships we went through to get to that 50,000 were nothing compared to the feelings of “I don’t want to give up!”, or “I want to stick it to the critics!”

In that way, X was really just barely scraping by at that point, but we seemed to be surrounded by bands full of rich people. In any case, promotion was really gaudy.

At first, in order to increase the number of people at our lives, Yoshiki said, “at the next live, we’ll have a fridge to show special favour to our fans.”

“Why the hell would we have a fridge?” I said.

“Well then, how about a microwave oven?” he retorted.

Yoshiki’s way of thinking always came from somewhere bigger, and worked toward it little by little.

At this time we eventually made a video tape, and he was really calm about it. Even now I’m not good at that kind of thing, but I’m always charmed by people like him who are.

The video tape born from this unique expression was one in which a bike gang of more than 50 people participated, and because of that, rumours like “this is a really cool band!” and “how rich they must be!” started to circulate. After that, the attendance numbers at lives for this enigma of a band, X, started to increase like crazy.

Thinking back on it now, the way we were during that time period was a really solid union. We were such close friends. I think we had something special that would be impossible for other bands.

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 3
4. “Jack-of-all-trades Taiji”

If I may say so myself, from the time I was little I was pretty skillful. Like when I started something new, I’d be able to do it without any real trouble. Because of that, during the indies period of X, almost all of our costumes were made by me.

Of course I could do the basics with sewing, but in order to add some individiuality, I also made little artistic accessories. I went to a wholesale store I knew in Akasakabashi and bought all the materials that looked like they would be useful, and then used them toward making costumes for each member. By inserting glass into leather, I could even make a costume that resembled a Gundam.

hide always gave me artistic evaluations on my work.

Furthermore, it wasn’t only costumes that I had to do. I also ended up in charge of hair styling.

Since hide was legally a beautician, you would think that he would do that kind of thing, but at that time hide was desperate to raise X up to the next level. Unofficially, he took on the role of X’s leader from the shadows, and with all his might he did nothing but think of everything about X’s future. Because of that, it was me who ended up doing everyone’s hair.

Even sticking up Toshi’s long, blonde hairstyle was my idea originally. I used one or two cans of hairspray, and then let all the teased up hair harden. I wouldn’t have been able to make it stand up without using so much hairspray, but if I think about it now, we really ended up spreading a lot of freon gas…

Anyway, by this point his hair would be solidly hard, so naturally it wouldn’t easily go back to the way it was. Normally, he’d have to soak it in a wash basin for more than an hour. From then on, he was stuck in washbasin hell countless times.

In Pata’s case, we decided that we needed to do something drastic, so I suggested a mohawk. A mohawk hairstyle would force me to perfect my art of standing hair up.

In this way, the five of us established our own individual styles. For other people, when doing something for the first time they might wait until they come to a natural agreement on opinions, but for us, without any sense of unity, it was that a band with no expectations was born.

We were styill a punk-looking visual band- that much was certain- but we wanted to take the uncharted path of bridging the gap between visual style and good music.

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 3
5. “The white whale.”

Both back then and now, I’ve always liked doing lives in livehouses. You can see the audience’s faces well, even each person’s sweat. When I see the crowd’s happy faces, I’m able to have fun naturally.

Up until now, the worst live I’ve done was the Vanishing Vision tour show at Niigata. It was too crowded to the point where nobody could get in and I couldn’t breathe. I think the fans were having a hard time as well, but I really thought I was going to die. Of course, the indies period is unforgettable.

During that time, we went everywhere in a van called “the white whale”.

It was around the time of our first Hokkaido tour. On the day when we finally made it into Hokkaido, our worn out white whale quit on us. Undetered, the five of us got out and pushed it, and somehow we were able to take it all the way to the livehouse.

Naturally, after the live, we had the same problem. We had to frantically push the white whale all the way back.

This also happened during the Hokkaido tour:

While riding in our beloved white whale, Yoshiki went to a convenience store and came back with a CD. It was a Beatles CD.

Until that point, the five of us had been listening to songs that didn’t even make sense. For example, I’d want to listen to Metallica, but hide would end up playing something that sounded suspiciously like magic spells. We traveled while we waited our turn to each listen to the song we wanted to. Even though we were such a hard to please bunch, the Beatles were always close to our hearts.

As the sun slipped down past the Hokkaido prairie and we listened to Beatles songs, there was a romantic atmosphere.

“The Beatles are really good,” hide simply said, and without saying anything else, everyone was lost in the music.

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 3
6. “Yoshiki’s great efforts.”

After our 1989 major debut, our lives and tours totally changed. In order to accommodate the amount of fans we had, we switched from playing livehouses to playing halls. Thanks to that, we also stopped using our white whale.

Something unbelievable happened when we were playing a concert in Kanagawa.
That day, Yoshiki was in bad shape. But the fans were waiting, so he had to go on stage.
Even so, Yoshiki couldn’t do it, and he ended up going back to Tokyo by taxi. Moreover, our manager chased after him in another taxi. The total price for the taxis at that time was 60,000 yen. That kind of thing is unthinkable, right? But it’s really like Yoshiki to do something so excessive.
There are a lot of stories like this about Yoshiki.
If the curry he always ordered from the same curry shop was spicier than usual, he’d angrily not eat it, if the shower at a tv station or some place was too hot, he’d end up going home. Those kinds of things were a daily occurence. However, because we got used to his conduct, it became really trivial to us.
Even the day before the Tokyo Dome concert, he didn’t come, so we had to face our first Tokyo Dome concert without any rehearsal.
Even though we had no choice in the matter, it was a success. Generally, we would have been nervous for days beforehand and practiced like crazy, but we never really knew what to expect on stage.
There are also times when we’ve had accidents on stage. The drums Yoshiki had prepared in order to destroy, one time he kicked them with all his might, and one of the cymbals hit my bass, and the neck was broken. From then on, I stayed as far away as possible during his drum solos.
There are endless things that can be said about Yoshiki’s existence. But looking back now, to that extent, maybe that’s how X has always been able to betray the fans’ expectations in a good way.

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 3
7. “The proof of camaraderie.”

If you’re just watching, you might not notice, but during lives we make a few mistakes a year. Of course, in order to prevent them, we rehearse several tens or several hundreds of times, but even so, sometimes we blank out during a show.

In my case, rather than mess up, I straight up forget things.

When that happens, I just play something suitable on bass and listen for Pata’s guitar. When I hear it, I can usually remember and get back on track.

Also- although it’s my fault for leaving this to someone else- there have also been times when my tuning was wrong. When I get on stage and start to play, I notice the sound it makes and then realise that I should probably be in charge of that myself.

In Yoshiki’s case, he sometimes starts to drum too fast. When that happens, I sort of side-step toward him like a crab, and little by little we match up our rhythm.

In Pata’s case, he occasionally gets a little bit out of sync, but as for hide, I think he almost never messes up. He’s really prepared, and when he has to do vocals, too, I hear him singing it about twenty thousand times.

As for Toshi, he messes up all the time. However, every time, he’s able to quickly adapt and fix it. He never tries to cheat by humming- he always is able to pull out lyrics on the spot. Maybe it’s because he has a sense of responsibility to not disrupt the flow.

Accidents are a part of doing shows. Rather than get mad about mistakes, I think we can take advantage of the energy we’re given in the moment we mess up.

In songs where there are a lot of repeats, we don’t particularly have any signal to end it. We match with Yoshiki’s rhythm, and glancing at one another and I think we just are able to sense when it’s done.

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 3
8. “Revolution.”

Honestly speaking, it was a harsh period. Rock music in the era in which we started our band was not yet mainstream.

Just the sight of long, blonde hair was enough for people to call you bad, and music was not thought of as a feasible lifestyle. It was still an era where musicians were still branded as failures.

For that reason, however, we rejected that world with rebellious hearts and fought back.

In our indies period, we coined the the phrase that everyone still usestoday : “visual”. Advertising ourselves as “visual shock”, our live attendance soared to record-breaking numbers.

So in 1989, we signed a major contract with CBS Sony. Our first album after that, Blue Blood, amazingly sold a million copies.

At that time, nobody expected rock music to be able to sell to that extent. We felt as if we were taking the first step toward a revolution.

At the end of that year, the single we released, “Kurenai”, won the cable broadcast Rookie-of-the-Year award. It was probably really shocking to see a band like us win on cable when they probably would have expected enka or something. To be honest, we gained so much exposure because of that award.

However, we still weren’t satisfied.

With the release of “Jealousy” in 1991, we embarked on a nationwide hall tour. Our final destination was somewhere that no Japanese rock artist had been able to perform before: Tokyo Dome.

Tokyo Dome’s occupancy is over 50,000. Performing for three days in Tokyo Dome, right after the new year, we could perform for over 150,000 people. We always challenged ourselves to do things that nobody else could, and we took it into our own hands to break that record.

We had no idea when our momentum would be broken. That’s probably why NHK could do anything but stay quiet about it. On New Year’s Eve 1991, decked out in red and white for the holiday, we appeared as the rock band on the end of the year program. Relatives of the performers boasted about it, enka singers and the like didn’t know whether or not they should participate, and it greatly influenced the next year’s sales.

For that reason, in the dressing room on the day of the show, more than the performers themselves, I remember the staff being particularly nervous. I think it was probably because they were worried about making sure to handle the New Year traditions flawlessly and about being as courteous as possible.

But it was different for us.

Despite the tension surrounding us, we just did what we always did and performed.

In reality, we didn’t made history in this way again, but we were worried about being judged by the numbers alone.

There was one thing I wanted them to understand. From the beginning, X  was a pioneer band that did things nobody else had done. We were revolutionary people who did what others couldn’t.

At one point, Yoshiki said, “At any cost, we must become a rock band that can sell a million records. If we can’t do that, the music industry will never change.”

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 3
9 “Destruction band.”

“Men get serious when they have to.” That is the theory behind X.

At the time we formed, we were very quick to fight. This feeling wasn’t a leftover fragment- it remained strong with us.

Particularly with Yoshiki, hide, and I, who could never admit defeat, there were innumerable episodes.

During our indies days, our fights stemmed from our ability to sell. From that time on, because we did things that others wouldn’t do and our live attendance doubled, whether it was good or bad, we attracted a lot of attention from other bands.

While trying to figure out what kind of band we were, just by coming into their line of sight, they’d say something like, “so you guys are X, huh? Why don’t you try showing your face?” Even if there was no reason for it, it would provoke a fight.

But, as usual, it was over as soon as it started. Since it’s us you’re talking about, we’d just go back inside and continue drinking like it was no big deal.

In other words, if someone picked a fight with us, they’d be down with just one punch to the nose. It was always those kinds of guys.

Because we encountered other bands on a daily basis, there was one time Yoshiki even walked around Dotonbori carrying around a wooden sword.

However, after our major debut, the contents of our fights changed.

It might have been because the amount of libel and slander decreased, but it was that the source of the problems became primarily more emotional.

In particular, it was the remarkable-looking hide.

In his core, he was rather tender, and he was a human who was more delicate than others, so if you had even a little bit of an ugly attitude with him, he’d get violently angry. At a livehouse in one area, he didn’t like the attitude of a shopkeeper, and hide made it so he couldn’t do anymore business.

Once again, I touched on this in Part One, but it’s the same as the time he was drinking with Ziggy’s vocalist, and even though the source of his anger was unknown, there ended up being a dispute and he sprayed everything in the hotel lounge with a fire extinguisher.

That’s the sort of situation where I came in. If hide was that pissed off, it was my job to stop him. For some reason, both of us couldn’t be pissed off at once. So of course, if I got pissed off, hide would be the one to calm me down, too.

But, concerning Yoshiki, it was different. Even if hide and I both tried to calm him down, he wouldn’t stop. If something seriously pissed him off, he was as bad as a bulldozer. If you crossed him, he could have probably demolished a store in a day, so before something like that happened, the two of us would desperately try to stop him. Because of that, we always ended up getting hurt.

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 3
10. Shunkan o Ikiru
[Living for the Moment]

The most severe thing that ever happened to me then was having 14 stitches in my arm to sew up an injury.

The day before our concert at Osaka-jo Hall, I went out alone and got into a accident; I didn't brake in time and smashed into a glass window. I was rushed to the hospital right away and got stitches, and they gave me some morphine for the pain, but the doctor's verdict was: "It's impossible for you to play bass like this." The medicine they gave me suppressed the pain, but he said that in the middle of playing, my wound could open back up.

But even so, no matter what condition I was in, I wanted to play in the live. "There's tens of thousands of people waiting for me. I can't disappoint the fans," I pleaded, unable to fight against my enthusiasm. The next day, I took a ton of morphine and went on stage. Because of the medicine, I felt no pain and had a great live.

Since that time, Osaka-jo Hall has become a legendary place for me.

Thinking about it, it wasn't just limited to accidents, but we really broke a lot of things. So we kept having to pay compensation for things. Even so, somehow I was the only one who had the experience of once not being able to pay someone back for something I did.

Before we won the best new band prize on a cable prize show, I was arrested for destroying some receptacles in a fight and was held for several days in custody. I'm not sure if I have a short temper or supreme calm, but I have the strange thought of needing to destroy the evidence after I smash everything in sight, so that can't be helped...obviously, that was the only time I stopped to reflect on it.

Fights are definitely not a good thing, but we were always fighting over something. Maybe by fighting, we were trying to destroy all the common sense and contradiction in the world.

There wasn't anything that we had to protect. It was really a repeating of tension and strain. Because of that, I think, betting everything on a single moment, we lived for that moment with all our might.

Out of all the modern rock bands, I wonder if there are any who have managed to carry out what we did when we existed. We were a little like "flightless birds."

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 3
11. “Troublemaker.”

At the end of our three days in Tokyo Dome, I withdrew from X.

There has been a lot of talk about what the real reason that I left is, but I’ve kept the real reason in my heart all this time.

Touching upon that subject now, I’m finally able to reach a settlement within myself.

I think that the direct source of my motivation to quit was money. Maybe it was that I had killed the mood by always demanding that the five of us should recieve equal royalties.

One day, Yoshiki told me to quit.

If I think about it now, talk had probably already circulated between Yoshiki and hide about my actions up until that point and my role in the future of the band. It might be that our different opinions regarding royalties motivated their decision.

Overall, I don’t think it was really Yoshiki and hide who made this decision, but a secret strong force going behind my back. No, that’s what I want to think.

It’s certain that I was a troublemaker. But I don’t think by any means that I was unnecessary.

I arranged almost all of X’s music, and if I may say so myself, as the bassist I think that I had the necessary talent. But this also created a source of trouble.

It was that I was never able to compromise.

For example, in regard to Yoshiki, rather than acknowledge something he had worked on like crazy, I would point out what about it he had done poorly. To me, X had to be perfect. If nobody pointed out the shortcomings, I didn’t think we would be able to rise to the top. That was my duty.

Yoshiki and I frequently collided and there was no forgiveness from the other members.

That’s why I was disliked by the other members, and I was feared by the staff like a human bomb. Even so, everything around me had seemed fine.

The way I behaved was all caused by the fact that I really loved X.

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 3
12. Kawarenai Jibun
[Myself, Unchangeable]

I think I'm an "unchangeable man."

Even after becoming famous, I didn't change. Even after our major debut, when my life underwent a 180 degree turn, that didn't change the core of who I was.

Surely, when I think of the old days where we had trouble scraping together the "Indies 5,000 yen," I think that my attitude towards money has changed since then. Because the figures I am making have changed, it was probably inevitable.

When you become prosperous, you start to become greedy.

Of course, you buy high-class foreign cars, houses, and designer clothes, and you receive VIP treatment and start leading a rich lifestyle. Maybe this is a kind of dream that people who were born rich can't understand: a kind of proof that your dream really did come true.

X's members were unusual in that we didn't do that.

The objects of our interests differed, but individually, we each caught hold of the "proof" that defined us.

I thought that this was all right. Because we were in a rock band, it couldn't be helped that these things caught our eye. The image of success that each person sketches for himself will be different...

However, to me, "success" was a little unique. More than a high-class car, I wanted a bike, and more than a personal chauffer, I wanted a team.

Yes, my dream was to create a biker gang, and to arrive with them on our bikes all at once at whatever place we were having our live.

Once, we had a Harley team in one of our videos, and the image of that time has always stayed strongly with me [trans note: Taiji must be talking about the Celebration PV long version]. I have always thought this is what "rock" is.

My attitude didn't change either when we went on Kouhaku [trans note: NHK's "Red and White Battle" show on New Years' Eve].

There were singers who bought tons of clothes, but I always dressed in leather. Also, when we were recording for TV, the other members would bring out the flashy expensive clothes that they bought, but I would stand off to the side and dress in regular clothes and it didn't bother me.

Ever since I was young, I've always hated doing the same thing as someone else. I discovered that it was meaningless and thoroughly avoided it.

So I think that I was always regarded as an annoying "bump on the forehead" by X. Though I realized that they thought about me in this way, I still couldn't change. There was nothing around me that could sway me.

This is because I have always lived spontaneously. I think that I have kept the "spontaneous body" of human beings' original nature, since I didn't change at all from when I first joined X...

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 3
13. Byoudoshugi
[The Principle of Equality]

When I look back, the time that everything began was the Blue Blood tour.

The five of us all had different ideas, and when we made a song, we wrestled amongst ourselves and those ambitions. As a matter of fact, whenever we had a rehearsal, we were made by Yoshiki to play the songs how he wanted them from start to finish.

At the time, I had a very big, very impudent mouth. "The other members are writing songs too. You really need to distribute the songs evenly among us. You're the leader, but that doesn't mean you don't make mistakes."

The staff would stop us, and we would end up not speaking to each other.

The members would just think, "They're fighting again," and the staff would side with Yoshiki.

So I was left behind to fend for myself.

In that case, I shouldn't have talked to Yoshiki but rather to the staff. The fact was that it wasn't Yoshiki, but the people around him, who were trying to carry this out.

But even though I understood this in my head, for some reason I kept fighting Yoshiki head-on. In those days, maybe I was lost somewhere in the people around me who kept exaggerating the circumstances and trying to intervene. It was a long year for me, and I fought with all my friends; even though things changed around me, I couldn't change a thing.

For a while after that, I was the only one with a special contract. It was a studio musician contract. It was a result I brought upon myself, because I continued to fight for equal shares within the band.

Truthfully, because what I was doing was just being hurtful to X, what happened next was a foregone conclusion. Even now, I don't know whose idea it was, but I pray it wasn't Yoshiki's.

We just kept digging the ditch deeper and deeper. So during a conversation about royalties, everything was decided.

Yoshiki said, "Please quit."

And I answered, "I understand. I'll quit."

That was all I said. Yoshiki had only one reply to me.

"I'm sorry."

My blood was boiling, but that one word immediately made me go very still. But truthfully, I believe that inside that one word, "sorry," were hidden many other words.

However, because back then I was a stupid idiot who only took things at face value, I couldn't read that deeply into Yoshiki's words.

So then, accepting the terms that I was to stay until the end of the three day Tokyo Dome live, I began the countdown for me to leave the band.

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 3
14. Saigo no Steeji
[The Last Stage]

There were three days left in the countdown until I withdrew from X. It was 1992, January 5, 6, and 7 of TOKYO DOME 3 DAYS. After the last stage, I would no longer be in X.

When Yoshiki told me that he wanted me to leave X, the truth was that he only wanted me to stay till the end of those three days.

Perhaps the reason was that in the middle of our conversations when I would turn belligerent and try to pick a fight, I would mistakenly say too much.

But still, I wanted to stay and play till the end of the three days. "When the three days is up, then I'll quit," I said to Yoshiki, and when I said that, Yoshiki told all the people he was talking with to go outside, and we had a one-on-one talk.

Because of that, I was able to stay till the very end.

All throughout those three days, I played my bass with the thoughts of "quitting" whirling through my head.

I was prepared. From the time that Yoshiki had whispered to me about joining X, I had had to live my entire life for the sake of X.

X was my everything.

Many thoughts were running together. I expected everyone else to feel the same way. No matter how everything would end, up on that stage we were comrades-in-arms who had gone through a long year of battle together; we were best friends.

The last day at Tokyo Dome--- Upon that stage, everything truly ended.

That day was the only time where, though I tried and tried to hold them back, the tears kept coming. Toshi and hide and Pata and Yoshiki were also crying.

Until the last, I embraced them one by one and cried.

And then I faced Yoshiki with honestly and held him and wept.

With that, it was over.

As I left the stage for the last time, I thought: "I love Yoshiki. As one man to another, truly, I wouldn't let Yoshiki go for anything in the world."

In that moment when everything I had vanished, those were my true and honest thoughts.

Surely, Yoshiki was tired. On top of having to keep making music, he had all these disruptions come into his life one by one, and I suppose he was tired of me insisting upon equality within the band. And so maybe he cut me out from his life because he was tired of it.

We were different; Yoshiki was the leader who held all the responsibility.

Perhaps even to something like this, he was being forced repeatedly to do it against his will by other people for "the sake of X."

Because Yoshiki's memories are more painful than anyone else's, it doesn't matter if you call him was "extraordinary" or a "king." Now I can clearly say that because of the things he did, he's now received his true reward, the reward that he deserves.

On January 7, 1992, 15,000 people came out to see us at TOKYO DOME 3 DAYS and left us with a miraculous record, and I informed them that I was leaving X.

In a way, it was also a way of summarizing the past 6 years.

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 3
15. “Emotional scars and aggression.”

I wonder what on earth “sense” means. In music, the arts, sports, etc., the sort of fields in which you use specific skills, it is a word that is thrown about often.

If you say it in the musical world, even if there is nothing to criticize on a technical level, someone who lacks sense will become idle. There are also those who make up for a lack of sense by skillfully taking hold of the latest fashions and begin churning out meaningless songs one after another.

If you look up “sense” in a dictionary, it says, “the ability to understand the subtle feeling/merit of things.”

In other words, “sense” is something affected by the heart. The heart is not something forged by great effort. I think the way to understand “subtle feeling” would be the sensibility to understand something fragile.

That’s why I think that “sense” is the same as “emotional scars”. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that sense is something born from the wounds that you hold in your heart.

A prime example of this is the Blues. The Blues were born from the trauma African Americans went through, and years later this was passed down in song. No matter how much cleverness and skill you have, you couldn’t make music like the Blues without sense.

The five of us in X each held our own emotional scars.

The death of parents, divorce, issues with self-image, and so on. These might not be unusual issues, but these were the traumas  that our “sense” was born from. That’s why our way of thinking wasn’t “whether or not we can succeed as pros,” but “we will succeed as pros.”

The aggression born from our emotional scars and a sense of impending doom completed our “vitality”. The existence of that “vitality” came from the gap between whether or not we could attract people.

The five of us had “vitality.”

To shut down was not possible. There was no way out. If things didn’t work out… well, we couldn’t think about that. Thinking about that would mean death.

In other words, by following the guidance of Yoshiki’s words, “There is nothing we won’t do. If we don’t do anything, we can’t do anything,” X, who was on the verge of destruction, ended up heading toward success, and subsequently established the new age of rock.

This is all I want to say to young people who are aiming to become musicians:

Build up a lot of emotional scars. Solidify your confidence in yourself.

I’m waiting to hear countless masterpieces from you.

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 3
16. Yoshiki

It has been 16 years since I first met Yoshiki.

Yoshiki, the one who introduced me to X. Yoshiki, the one who made me quit X. Yoshiki has always been the one holding the key to my life. I think that perhaps he is the most intelligent person I have ever met.

He founded X with Toshi in Chiba's Tateyama City. Then obviously they advanced to Tokyo, and by the time anyone noticed, he had already sucked into his own band all the great names from the bands around him. Such great timing and his skill at choosing people could be called "genius."

After the five of us had joined X, we grew so quickly it was frightening. Yoshiki's musical conceptualizations flowed out shockingly one by one, and brought about such a pleasant feeling that I had never ever felt before. But at the same time, I wondered if I was the only one who thought that maybe we were trying to live a little too quickly…? With such a rapid speed, floating adrift, it was also repellant. Every day was both tense and uplifting.

The relationship between me and Yoshiki isn't something that I can speak about. So let me continue to give examples of how I see him.

He was a selfish, spoiled child but still lent an ear to the opinions of people around him; he was actually only worried about what happened to himself but still was a kind parent to others; he was innocent to anything outside music but he carried a kindness within himself; he was exceptionally proud, a sore loser, and a hard to like man.

Furthermore, he was an action man of foresight, and an idea man who would act upon even the most outrageous idea. If that could be put together easily, wouldn't we get a hardworking man, a legendary man, a very human, masochistic, sort of man?

If I try to put it like that, then to this day I think that because I also kept trying again and again to reach my goal, mightn't we be considered two people who greatly resemble each other?

The face of a beautiful angel and the face of a grieving devil. I believe that those two faces, so hard to live with, make up the human being that is Yoshiki.

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 3
17. Pata

Out of all the members of X, Pata was the one member most unlike me. Everything he did was my opposite. Softspoken and steady, he was naturally protected by the other members.

He had opinions, but unlike me, he never spoke them, and he usually never disagreed with anyone either. He never argued, but just sat there in his chair drinking a beer, remaining calm.

Gentle from the start, perhaps he might have been the one person in X who acted most like an adult.

There was only one thing that could change him from that. That was "Giants: Win or Lose?" [trans note: the Yomiuri Giants are one of the six pro-baseball teams from the Tokyo area, and the most popular team in Japan]

He was such a huge Giants fan that even the office he created was named "Office Giants." So if the Giants lost, he would be in a bad mood and would lose his temper easily. In our group, our implied rule was: "If the Giants lost, today Pata will be pissed off."

The first time we played at Tokyo Dome, he was moved for a different reason than the rest of us. That was because he was standing on the home field of the Giants. At breaks in rehearsal, he'd play ball with Toshi. His face was filled with a happiness that I can't describe.

Pata the Giants fan also had something he didn't like. He hated soba. Ever since he was a child, he has had an allergy to buckwheat.

Once at some elementary school that was serving soba for school lunch, one of the students who was forced to eat it died. Dying from eating soba might seem ridiculous, but to him, it was a very serious problem.

Once, I went with Pata and two other people to a soba farm. It was bad. When he reached the train station, he was coughing and sneezing, his nose was running, his eyes were watering...as he rode the taxi, he could do nothing but say, "This is terrible. I can smell the soba. If I stay here, I will die. I have to leave!"

At that time, I didn't know about Pata's allergy to soba, so I just said, "What are you talking about? I love soba! Let's go eat."

Now that I think about it, if we were eating and someone ordered soba, he would usually leave the table.

Pata is just someone who is very clear on what he likes and dislikes. Perhaps these two things are what rule his life. It is easy to understand him but hard to get to that point, and the only time when Pata was never bothered by anything was when he was drunk.

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 3
18. “Toshi.”

Toshi is all around a really interesting guy.

By nature he is very cautious, and he is the type that gets along well with others, but there is a part of him that is very lovable.

One time, he proudly started telling us a horror story. Somehow, when he was about to get on a train, he said that he slipped off the platform. Somehow he clung to the platform with both hands, and was propelled back from the recoil and some of his blonde hair was left behind at the platform, and he was embarrassed like crazy.

Because of that, until help came a few minutes later, Toshi had ended up stopping the train. After that, he got lectured by the rail police, but to Toshi, it was nothing more than good joke material about risking his life.

It was the same during practice.

Even if he said, “let’s do this song next,” he’d start singing a completely different song  on his own.

He’s a man who it’s hard to tell whether he’s just clumsy or whether he’s a really great person.

Although Toshi is a really comedic guy, that wasn’t his role as X’s vocalist. Because he influenced so many people, he had to be something like a “vanguard”, or at least I think that’s what he told himself.

So until he killed off his real self, maybe he played the part of a “vanguard” as much as possible. For that reason, I think he needed an unfathomable fortitude.

Since he was Yoshiki’s childhood friend from the start, they went to the same schools together and entered into X with him.

As it were, he lived his life together with Yoshiki, and even if he didn’t understand it himself, this was a pretty big thing, no matter how he look at it.

When we recorded, in order to meet Yoshiki’s standards of perfection, Toshi would sing himself hoarse.

Even when he stopped, saying, “isn’t that good enough?” the struggle between them would continue.

It was no wonder that Toshi got impatient to the point where he didn’t want to sing.

I told him countless times, “do want you want to do,” but he couldn’t. That was because he had been with Yoshiki since they were little.

Because of Yoshiki’s strong will, it was maybe that Toshi was a little bit dependent on him.

I think he was a little bit afraid of being alone. Because of that, he always ended up relying on others.

And now he’s been separated from Yoshiki, who he has always been closer to than anyone else, but isn’t it that from the bottom of his heart he wanted to follow him…?

At least, that’s the way it seems in my eyes.

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 3
19. “hide.”

Hide was always free. I think out of everyone in X, he was the one who managed to accomplish the most things that he wanted to do.

Back when I originally dropped out of X, the reason that I rejoined was because hide was there. I was confident that if hide joined, X would become an amazing band.
hide’s existence was something that, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t reach.
X’s music was arranged almost entirely by me and hide. With the music, hide would throw a ball and I would catch it and return it, just like playing catch. The way we worked together felt good. Because of that, I think out of everyone in the band, hide and I spent the most time together.
hide was really a strange guy. Especially when he drank, he was unnecessarily strange.
For example, if Yoshiki or I knew a fight was coming, we’d instantly raise our fists and fight, but in hide’s case it was really an ordeal.
He would punch holes in the wall, kick over signboards, throw fire extinguishers… I don’t think the bars put up with it, but that was how hide was. I think that probably when he hit things, in a way, he was questioning himself.
At any rate, more than being strange, he was a person with an incredibly song sense of justice, so when it came to something being unfair or unreasonable, he refused to stand by silently. And although he would knock things over in his anger, during that time, he would collect himself, and finally he’d end up torturing himself over it.
That was kind of a common feature between the two of us, and because of that, I think we got along well. Well, maybe it wasn’t so much that we got along well, but at the very least, I think that I was able to fully understand hide.
No matter how famous we got, he stayed close friends with those who he’d been acquainted with since long ago, and showed them great warmth and kindness.
hide always had a kindness that would never change.
Because he was that kind of person, he was able to instantly see through to a person’s true nature, or discover someone’s strong points. That’s why, even now, I think of hide as X’s hidden leader.
After X’s breakup, he had fun on his own, and he started to show his true self. He wore things like camouflage, sunglasses that looked like goggles, and cowboy hats, but I think that was the real hide. I think he was finally able to let his true colours shine.
At the end, he was doing what he wanted to do and getting good results.
Even if his body has gone, he has a soul that will never disappear. Just like I thought, hide was someone who I would never be able to reach.

X NO SEI TO SHI: STEP 3
20. “Voiceless Screaming.”

“Voiceless Screaming” seems like it invites people’s tears. It ended up being something that crossed over gender and nationality.
I guess it goes without saying, but this song was my creation.

My motivation for writing this song was because I realised X needed this kind of song. It’s easy to say that I “realised” it, but I think it was a result of my self-development.
I was always asking myself, “Is this alright?” The result of always investigating myself thoroughly was that this song came naturally.
At the time in which I was writing this song, I can’t forget how much gratitude I was feeling. I was very proud of being able to write something entirely by my own power.
Of course, there is a certain level of ability necessary to get that far, but at this point, an ability I didn’t realise that I had kicked in, and I think that made it flow out easily.
Because Yoshiki’s physical condition had deteriorated to the point where he needed to take a break during a show, I intended “Voiceless Screaming” to be played during that break. It was more difficult than I had anticipated.
At first, Toshi and I had started thinking about writing it together, but when we started to create, it ended up with an operatic pitch.
Even when we tried to simplify it, it didn’t work out. More than anything else, it just got more complicated. Eventually, we had to give it a wide berth in order to complete it.
There was a time before recording when Toshi came to me with an suggestion.
“I’m thinking of doing it this way here, but what would you do if it were you, Taiji?”
It was a question very typical of Toshi, but in response I bluntly said, “Don’t sing it as if you were me!”
In reality, it might be good if there had been such a song, but I didn’t want Toshi’s presence to disappear from it.
Having been refused by me, Toshi was really troubled.
True to his character, I think he thought very seriously about how to sing it. “Voiceless Screaming” was really a song that the two of us put our heart and soul into.
The reason that Toshi put so much into this song was because he revealed a lot of his personal hardship in the lyrics.
Right around that time, Toshi temporarily lost his voice. There’s no need for a vocalist without a voice. That bitterness and anguish he felt revealed itself in the sadness of the song.
The two of us ended up crying while we were recording it. The tears just flowed naturally.
I think that Toshi probably personally put his whole soul into a song for the first time.
I don’t think anything like “Voiceless Screaming” will be seen again. I certainly don’t think it would be saying too much to say that this song is Toshi singing of his own life.